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  • Malu Baumgarten


Yesterday I felt the earthquake.

As it happens at the brim of change

(when the world is about to become new and frightening)

I didn’t take it for what it was:

instead, I thought one of the cats had somehow

slipped under and inside the sofa and was now shaking it

as I lay in languid sorrow.

An unlikely cat would be the one to fit under my sofa

rare as this earthquake, (the first in a long time

to happen on this side of the world)

But I invented the cat, elastic to get under and strong to shake

the sofa with me lying on it,

I didn’t make sense of the trembling earth

jolting the rest of me

bringing it together

in the pulse of my shattered heart.

The earthquake was inside even before it materialized

in cats and sofas and my shaking soul trying to fit into a body

small for her.

Outside the tremor brought me to my senses

why die now when the end is already around the corner

if death is my only certainty

I’ll live for what I am worth

in a world that has become new and frightening.

Yesterday as I felt the earthquake

the layers of empty dirt falling into their places

Earth, bled of her oils, settling exhausted

Inside, my soul, condensed and fluid

resigned the fight, grew larger and lighter

fell into pace with the breath of Earth.

Words and photography ©Malu Baumgarten - all rights reserved

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